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Day 14. Zhangqui to Zibo

Thursday, September 24, 2009 permalink [Permalink]

We really couldn't have topped Ray's treat for us - this village was absolutely fantastic and in every way possible exactly what we needed to feel more of the authentic old China.

We slept soundly and awoke to the sound of birds and we took our time leaving the stone village.  On the way out we explored the small temple atop the inner gate with its tranquil music and Sanskrit carvings.

The other boys were dragging their feet to get going this morning, not surprising given the surroundings, but it did give me and Dave a chance to check out the outer wall.  It looked like the wall had been slapped together from old bits of stone, some distinctly out of place amongst the stone wall.

Stone wall outside Zhangqui
[Stone wall outside Zhangqui]

Upon closer inspection it seemed as though the old abandoned village had its stones looted in order to make this theme-park-style outer wall; most probably built to give the tourists a grandiose first impression of the hamlet.

Curious smile
[Curious smile]

The gentle slope accelerated our descent towards the highway and we were amongst modern China much too soon.  Before we knew it, 50 km later we were in Zibo, a large town with a connection to the bullet train network.  From here we would catch the train to Qingdao and the sea.

The bullet train has no cargo carriages; therefore we had to send our bikes tonight and collect them the following morning in Qingdao.  It wasn't easy and certainly didn't go as smoothly as when we had got the bikes on the bus, but with Ray's persistence, eventually the paperwork was in order; I wouldn't trust anyone by the King to put my bike on the night train.

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